First Sentence: Biggs ran in bursts down the street, wanting to move quickly but without attracting attention.
Back of the book:
The world has stopped sleeping. Restless nights have grown into days of panic, delirium and, eventually, desperation. But few and far between, sleepers can still be found – a gift they quickly learn to hide. For those still with the ability to dream are about to enter a waking nightmare.
Matt Biggs is one of the few sleepers. His wife Carolyn however, no stranger to insomnia, is on the very brink of exhaustion. After six restless days and nights, Biggs wakes to find her gone. He stumbles out of the house in search of her to find a world awash with pandemonium, a rapidly collapsing reality. Sleep, it seems, is now the rarest and most precious commodity. Money can’t buy it, no drug can touch it, and there are those who would kill to have it.
Kenneth Calhoun’s dark, hallucinatory and brilliantly realised debut confronts one of our deepest needs – and fears – with style, vision and a very human heart.
Quotes from the book:
The words she sang were not in English. He was not even sure they were words. They were soft sounds, smooth vowels, candlemelt. Eroded stone. The consonants were like footsteps in the snow, hands tunnelling in wet sand. The melody was weirdly complicated and difficult. Not exactly appealing, because it didn’t seem to follow any musical rules, like key or count. But she eased it gently into his ear, pushing it with a warm wind. He felt the warmth move into him, and spread over his mind, bringing slow pulses of color – purple and blue washes, undulating streaks of cool neon dancing under his eyelids like an aurora.
“Because everything is happening now at the same time. The mechanism that puts one minute after another has broken so that now it’s just forever in all directions at once.”
Maybe it was the toxic dust from the fallen towers, the ash creeping into our lungs. Maybe it was some ancient spore released by the melting ice. Maybe it was the earthquakes and tsunamis they summoned. Maybe it was the hole in the ozone, the collapse of the upper atmosphere. Maybe it was the betrayal by the banks. Maybe it was the dead surpassing the living. Maybe it was the ground choking on garbage and waste. Maybe it was the oil blasting freely into the ocean, or the methane thawing at the bottom of the sea. Maybe it was the overload of information, the swarms of data generated by every human gesture, Maybe it was the networking craze, the resurrection of dead friendships and memories meant to be lost, now resurfacing like rusted shipwrecks to reclaim our attention and scramble our sense of time.
* * * *
Last Sentence: He fell asleep and dreamed about something else entirely.